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Deception From Anti-Smacking Brigade

3 comments | 10:43 am | top |
Deborah Coddington is all over the place in her opinion piece in the Herald on Sunday,

"...this dastardly referendum on smacking, organised by grown men who should know better. In the middle of a deep recession it is costing taxpayers $9 million to ask the loaded question: "Should a smack as part of good parental correction be a criminal offence in New Zealand?"
Here we go round the mulberry bush. Again. First, a smack is not good parental correction. There is no such thing as a loving smack, just as there is no such thing as a hateful hug."

Deborah claims that the referendum was organised by grown men. Rubbish. Mother of two, Sheryl Savill was the author of the petition question. Further, it was men, women and children throughout New Zealand who facilitated the collection of signatures, just as it was people of all demographics who signed the petitions calling for the referendum. In August 2008, The Press reported that The Ministry of Justice had said a postal referendum could cost taxpayers between $4.8 million and $6.4m. Whether it's the $9m figure that's being tossed around, or something closer to $5m, who have we to thank for this huge expense but Helen Clark? The referendum could have easily and cost-effectively ($1.5m) been conducted at the 2008 election.

Deborah then states her opinion that there is no such thing as a loving smack. I invite Deborah to get out of her office into reality, and speak to some of the many thousands of mums and dads who I have spoken to, who assure me that there is indeed a difference between a smack and child abuse. Sure, some people are angered at the thought of a "loving smack" - but these people are in a definite minority.

Then in today's Press (22 June), Colin Espiner writes that he thinks the referendum question is "misleading, biased, and arguably factually incorrect". He proceeds to take the question to pieces - as many other reporters have attempted to do - examining each piece as if it is completely unrelated to any other part of the question. Despite the ranting and raving from a host of bloggers and reporters that the question is loaded and biased towards a no vote, this is categorically incorrect. "It's a tricky question" whines the Yes Vote group, parroting the recent comments by the leaders of the two major parties. However Espiner got it right when he said that the referendum question is not ambiguous.

Should a smack as a part of good parental correction be a criminal offence in New Zealand?

Contrary to the claims of the left reporters, the question does not imply that a smack is necessarily a part of good parental correction. Rather, it asks if a smack should be a criminal offence when it has been done as a part of good parental correction. To phrase it more simply: was the smack reasonable? If the smack was unreasonable, then it is clear that it was not done as a part of good parental correction. However if a mother gives her young child a smack because they were disobedient, then this is an example of good parental correction.

The vast majority of Kiwi parents love their children, and it brings them no joy to give their children a smack - despite Bradford's claim that "The men that are anti this bill are sexual perverts and get a kick out of hitting children". I have spoken to thousands of Kiwi men who are anti Bradford's bill, and they would be outraged that a public servant would have the audacity to make such a statement.

Rather than attempting to attack the people or the question, it would be good if people were able to debate the two issues that are at stake here: democracy and parental authority.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great facebook group about the smacking question:

5:47 pm, June 29, 2009 
Blogger David said...

You do a good job of interpreting the question. I agree with your interpretation, however; as long as there is room for interpretation, the implication, or rather the 'presupposition' that smacking is a part of good parental correction remains. It is exemplified by these examples:

1. Yes a smack, as a part of good parental correction, should be legal in New Zealand.
2. ?No a smack, as a part of good parental correction, should be illegal in New Zealand.

The preposition phrase 'as...' holds under negation, so the question presupposes that smacking is 'a part of good parental correction' regardless of your answer. For someone who disagrees with smacking, trying to answer (2) may create confusion due to the subliminal nature of the underlying preposition that smacking is in fact part of good parental correction. Therefore this question in inherently bias.

11:35 pm, July 31, 2009 
Blogger Andy Moore said...

Good comment David, I agree that there is that presupposition in the question. But how else could a question be phrased so that the kind of corporal punishment in question (a smack done in the context of good parenting using reasonable force) could be put to the vote? Do you have an idea for rephrasing the question? I haven't thought of one yet.

7:16 am, August 01, 2009 

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